The Best Travel Writing Competitions

Here are some of the best travel writing competitions that I have come across so far. None have been included that ask for an 'entrance fee' or are - as far as I know - simply disguised attempts to sucker you into buying pointless travel writing courses or other related products.

I wouldn't advise anybody to take any of them very seriously, either one way or the other. The winning entries to such competitions are often perplexingly dull. While a few are judged by well known writers, many are simply judged by whoever happens to be hanging around at the office. Worse still, many are judged by 'travel writing experts' who have never published anything as substantial as a proper book in their whole 'career'. None of them are really going to help your writing career, or make your name, but you can always use your entries on your own web site or blog. If you're very lucky then you might even win a free holiday!

Senior Travel Expert - Heritage Writing Competition
This new competition, with the theme of Heritage, is Free To Enter and offers £200 in prizes. The author of the best entry will receive a cash prize of £100. Ten runners-up will each receive £10 Amazon UK Vouchers. Entries should be no more than a 750 words in length. The closing date for entries is Wednesday October 1st 2018.

National Geographic Traveller Writing Competition
The UK based travel magazine is offering a trip to Thailand as the main prize for an inspirational travel story of up to 500 words. Closed for 2018.

Rough Guide Travel Writing Competition
The guide book publisher is offering a first prize of £2000 to spend through for a travel story of up to 500 words. The closing date is 1st May 2016.

The Guardian Travel Writing Competition
The Guardian national newspaper (UK) runs a travel writing competition each year with some big trips as prizes. Entries have to be 500 words or under and you can only enter one story for each category. The closing date for the 2013 competition is 13th October.

The Independent / Bradt Travel Writing Contest
The Independent national newspaper (UK) and Bradt travel guides yearly travel writing competition is open until Tuesday 30th June 2015. The theme this year is 'Serendipity' and entries must be between 600 and 800 words. The first prize is a holiday to Iceland and a commission for The Independent.

The 'Just Back' Daily Telegraph Travel Writing Competition
This is a weekly travel writing competition in The Daily Telegraph national newspaper (UK). Entries have to be 500 words or less and there is a £200 prize. Winning entries will be published in the Saturday edition of the newspaper

We Said Go Inspiration Travel Writing Contest
The theme for this competition is a place that inspires you to spend your time wisely with no regrets. There's a 1st Prize of US $1,000 cash, a 2nd Prize of $500, and a 3rd Prize of $250. The Winter contest will run between January 2, 2014 and February 14, 2014 at midnight PST.

The Spectator's Shiva Naipaul Prize for Outstanding Travel Writing
The £2,000 Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize - named after the late Trinidad-born writer and brother of VS Naipal - is not awarded for travel writing in the conventional sense. You need not have gone anywhere highly exotic or far away: the prize is for 'the most acute and profound observation of a culture alien to the writer.'

Leap Local Annual Travel Writing Competition
Write a 500-650 word story about a local travel experience for a chance to win a $500 first prize and two $150 second prizes. The 2012 competition has now closed but keep an eye on the site for 2013.

Pure Travel Writing Competition
This is once yearly contest for entries of between 350 and 750 words. There is a first prize of £1000 or $1500. Short listed entries will be voted for through their web site.

I Must Be Off Annual Travel Writing Competition
The fourth year of this annual travel writing competition. First prize of $200 and second prize of $50. Maximum 1200 words.

InTravel Writing Competition
InTravel is an independent travel site which offers a prize of $100 for each month's most voted for feature. Decent quality photographs are also expected to accompany any submitted articles.

Wanderlust Magazine Contests
Wanderlust (UK) magazine's member's web site regularly runs small travel writing competitions with a £50 'goodie bag' prize (this seems to translate as a pile of free promo stuff that they have lying around the office). They also occasionally host other organisation's travel writing contests, which have previously offered some really worthwhile prizes, and will often publish some of the better contributions to the member's 'my Wanderlust' web site, in the national glossy magazine.

Let me know if there are any other travel writing competitions worth entering and I'll add them to the list.


Full Length Books

Tearing up the Silk Road

Two Globes A 100,000 word travelogue detailing a journey from China to Istanbul, through Central Asia, Iran and the Caucasus.

Click here to view more details and the original book blurb for the back cover. You could also check out some of my initial ideas for book cover designs, view the final printed cover and check out the slide show. |

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Voodoo, Slaves and White Man's Graves

My second full-length travel book revolves around an overland journey through Benin, Togo, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Mali.

The book is now available in both print and eBook editions. Check out the West Africa Photo Gallery to view some pictures from this journey or view the full print version of the book cover. |

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Free eBooks

Turkmenbashi's Land of Fairy Tales

A Short Break in Libya

To Camels from Cows: Algeria Overland

All of these short eBooks are available for free in a variety of formats for use on such eReaders as Kindle, Nook and Sony Touch. After downloading the books in Kindle, Epub, RTF, PDB or PDF format, they can then be copied over to the eReader of your choice.

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